Transportation Brief: Jury Rejects “Nuclear” Verdict in Truck Accident Case
Andrew F. Marquis, Peter C. Morton
January 31, 2023
Nuclear verdicts may be on the rise around the country, but there remain signs of reasonableness, particularly in federal court jury pools. In November 2022, a jury in Detroit, Michigan entered a complete defense verdict in a motor vehicle accident personal injury case brought by a high-profile plaintiff’s firm, with the Scopelitis Accident Litigation Team on the defense.
Despite no injuries being reported at the accident scene, the Plaintiff asked the jury to award $3,000,000.00 for lost wages and pain and suffering against the Ohio-based motor carrier and its truck driver. After a full week of trial including testimony from many medical expert witnesses, the jury returned a verdict for the Defense and therefore awarded no damages. With jurors drawn from several counties in the Detroit metropolitan area, the decision came down to credibility of the Plaintiff, particularly due to the lack of objective signs of injury and the inflated demand.
The case highlighted advantages inherent in removing cases to federal court when possible, as well as the importance of finding credible expert witnesses to deliver objective evidence to the jury. Scopelitis Partner, Andy Marquis noted, “the jurors really seemed to understand the degenerative/acute issues from a medical standpoint, and, more broadly, they did not subscribe to inflated damages in connection with an objectively minor motor vehicle accident.”
Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.
Transportation Brief: DOL Independent Contractor Rule - And Now We Wait
by Shannon M. Cohen , Gregory M. Feary , Prasad SharmaThe DOL issued a proposed rule on worker status under the FLSA on October 13, 2022. In the Proposed Rule, the DOL formally rescinds the prior rule promulgated in 2021 under the Trump Administration and replaces it with a multifactor economic realities test that tilts in favor of finding employee status under the FLSA when compared to the 2021 rule. More insight from Scopelitis on takeaways from the 55,000 public comments, what we can expect from the DOL now that the real work is underway, and what DOL’s timeline might be.
Transportation Brief: Staggering Jury Award in Fingerprint Collection Case
by Chip Andrewscavage , Alaina C. HawleyA class of truck drivers recently won a $228 million judgment in the first jury trial under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). What did the jury find that led to the quintupled damages and piqued the interest of plaintiffs’ counsel to identify other Illinois companies that may be inadvertently collecting biometric identifiers from employees, contractors, or visitors? More from Scopelitis.
Transportation Brief: California Court Invalidates Employer’s Time Rounding Policy
by Christopher J. Eckhart , James A. EckhartMotor carriers that employ California workers and use time-rounding policies should be aware of the recent decision in Delmer Camp v. Home Depot. What do employers using rounding policies in California need to know as they review their timekeeping and payroll systems to ensure compliance with the appellate court ruling that the employer was not entitled to round the employees’ hours?
Transportation Brief: What Constitutes “Interstate Commerce” Under the Federal Arbitration Act Remains Murky
by Braden K. Core , Prasad SharmaCourts continue to grapple with whether certain workers are “engaged in interstate commerce” for purposes of the exemption from the Federal Arbitration Act for transportation workers. The Ninth Circuit recently held that drivers transporting goods from Domino’s Pizza supply centers to franchisees were engaged in interstate commerce, even though the drivers did not cross state lines. When Domino’s asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a review, the Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision, sending the case back for further proceedings in light of its recent decision in Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon. What do Scopelitis attorneys think about how to interpret this decision?
Transportation Brief: Proposed NLRB Rule on Joint Employer Status
by Kelli M. Block , A. Jack FinkleaThe NLRB recently announced a proposed rule on joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act. Under the proposed rule, an entity may be deemed a joint employer if it has the authority to exercise direct or indirect control over essential conditions of employment, regardless of whether it actually exercises control. How might this have a massive effect on the transportation industry, and when can we expect a final rule?
Transportation Brief: Spotlight on The Scopelitis Workplace & Data Privacy Practice
Chip Andrewscavage , Andrew J. Butcher , Dylan C. Goetsch , Alaina C. Hawley , Prasad SharmaThe supply chain industry understands how technology and the accumulation of data have shaped today’s economy. With the proliferation of data collection, governments around the world have created a confusing, contradictory, and patchwork set of laws and regulations targeted at data privacy. The laws often have consequences for businesses that fail to adhere to their complex requirements. To mitigate risk relating to the collection and processing of data in business operations, the Firm’s Workplace Data Privacy Practice provides overviews of the regulatory and legal requirements relating to data privacy and security, risk analyses of conducting business in certain states or countries, review and negotiation of contract provisions relating to data privacy and security, and more. Learn more about how attorneys in this practice work to provide tailored, timely advice to clients.
Transportation Brief: Winter 2023 For the Record
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